The term “fresco” is understood to be a letter on the raw limestone base by paints diluted with water or paints having a lime binder (lime mortar, lime water). The calcium oxide hydrate contained in the lime paste and, therefore, in the lime solution, is the main element of this technique, which, entering into a chemical reaction with carbon dioxide in the air, forms calcium carbonate — a transparent vitreous structure that, penetrating the entire layer of soil and paints and forming a thin transparent film on their surface, fixes (cements) both the entire soil and the paint layer of the fresco, which it also protects from weathering. What makes this technique almost eternal. Her death comes along with the destruction of architecture.
The term “fresco” comes from the Italian expression “a fresko” – in raw, that is, the letter on the raw, still fresh lime soil. In Italy, where the term “fresko” originated, the fresco refers to all the paintings, in any material that is made in the architecture. In its homeland, the term was established by the end of the XIV century, although the method of writing on damp limestone soil was used from times much earlier, and it took place not only on the Apennine Peninsula. As in any other technique, in the monumental painting the work of the masters turns out to be difficult. And the fresco requires careful preparation of the wall, for the “soil of the painter” will be only the third in a row. The first two close the brick or masonry walls and align it. And very carefully! So that there are no air bubbles left, so that irregularities are smoothed, so that in the second layer, which is thinner in comparison with the first, the surface would be ideal. No wonder her tirelessly “otglazhivayu” special board. And then, on top of the two previous ones, they put a plaster layer on it for painting. Thin, less than a centimeter thick, it is imposed in parts and exactly as much as the artist can paint in a day. Otherwise, the plaster dries out and will have to be scraped off. In the fresco, executed in the “raw way”, often visible connecting seams, the boundaries between the parts, which ended in a certain period of the artist. And also prorisi – the contours of the drawing which are scratched in plaster, transferred to a wall from previously created cardboard.
Complicated fresco! Requires special skill and courage, and accuracy, and foresight. . . It is necessary to write on the raw, until the plaster is dry, until the paint freely flows into the ground. It is necessary to write accurately, because it is difficult to correct, because errors are detected a few days after drying (corrected with tempera). It is necessary to write, anticipating a change in color, because in the raw state the paint is much brighter. In a word, “buon fresco” (it.), “Pure fresco” (good!) Without corrections turns out to be a very rare and hard-to-reach phenomenon. That is why the fresco is written not only in the “raw way” (“a fresco” – it), but also in the “dry way” (“a secco” – it). They write on dried plaster, kneading lime in paints. At the same time, it serves as whitewash and makes the painting more similar to gouache, while water-based paints give the fresco a “watercolor character”.
The term “fresco” came to Russia from Italy no earlier than the 18th century. This can be judged by the fact that he did not appear in Russian documents in the XVI-XVII centuries, and such nature of works in the chronicle, charters and decrees were written: “wall letter on raw levkas”. The term “wall letter” meant all the paintings on architectural surfaces, made in any technique, be it painted on a damp levkas, on an emulsion bond or glue.
The fresco was widespread in past eras. It is supposed that they knew her in Ancient Greece, they wrote it in Ancient Rome, Byzantium, in Russia of the X-XII centuries. Numerous frescoes are made in medieval Europe.
This technique created significant and outstanding works. Starting a conversation about the fresco as a wall painting technique, it should immediately be said that there was no single fresco technique, that is, a unified system of writing on raw lime soil. This technique, originating in the depths of ancient culture, was then distributed to the entire European culture region, and naturally that during its use by different nations and for a considerable time it changed in accordance with the artistic tasks that faced the masters of a certain epoch and region, proceeding from the traditions of craftsmanship and the properties of materials. The only thing that is characteristic of all its modifications is the lime binding of its primers and paints. Everything else is a kaleidoscope of soil formulations, methods for applying them, a range of colors, writing systems, etc.
The most commonly used tempera paints (mainly all-painted), which were added and prescribed murals already with their dried paint layer, which was often dictated by the need to correct the failed fragments, adding details.